FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is upgrading some of their training and rescue equipment to be more prepared for situations that may arise.
After a near-drowning in the county earlier this month, Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith wants all deputies to have rescue equipment in their vehicles.
“It’s just another way that hopefully we can save lives and do something good, and like I said it’s not a lot of money. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone in distress and standing on the beach and not being able to do anything about it,” said Sheriff Smith.
Now each staff member at the sheriff’s office has a brand new flotation rescue device to be used for distressed swimmers they might encounter.
“We were thinking what can we do, what if somebody fell off one of our bridges, or is in the water, so we came up with this idea to put it in the cars. We’re also going to have around 50 feet of rope that can go with it, in case somebody was off the bridge, we could throw it to them,” said Smith.
The sheriff’s office is also making sure staff undergo the most up to date training. That being said, the Florida Sheriffs Association has many different training programs available to local sheriffs offices to do for free.
“This is going to allow us to do a lot of different things, there’s hundreds of training courses, the de-escalation is one that I mandated all the employees take,” said Smith.
The training Sheriff Smith says is more relevant than ever.
“There’s been a lot of controversy about defunding the police, and things like that. So, people, I think want to see police and law-enforcement using every tool available to them to avoid any kind of violent or deadly confrontation. So this is a way that makes the employees think, “okay what can I do to reduce a situation where I don’t have to get violent or I don’t have to use force?'” said Smith.
Nearly 50% of deputies have already completed the training so far. Hoping that this could save even one situation from going too far.
“If it works in one incident, then it’s been worthwhile,” said Smith.